Monday, December 15, 2008

Final Post

For my final post I decided to go over everything that I have learned through the course of this class and the research I have done through my blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed this course and the many discussions we have had but beyond that I have learned a lot by keeping this blog. This was a new experience for me, I have never been a blogger before this but I have taken a liking to it and I have found it a very useful place to get information about many different topics particularly different opinions.
Through my blog I learned so much about women and the different struggles they have to go through in the workforce. I enjoyed taking a look at the different aspects of the workplace and not just focusing on the typical office setting. I was able to expand my research to areas that I had never thought of before this assignment. I did research on the WNBA, NASCAR, the Olympics, the military, and many different women icons/ role models. Some of the most shocking information I found had to do with the military because I view that as a government run agency that should be free of corruption and crime although it seems to be laced with it. The many different stories I read of different kinds of abuse against women that happen frequently and just the unfairness that goes on was appalling. The particular story about PVC Brown was incredibly disheartening and leads me to believe there are many more cases just like hers out there. I hope that the media will catch on to this problem and somehow the military will be cracked open and the corruption will cease.
Overall, I have really enjoyed my time in the class and my time researching and writing my blog. This has heightened my awareness of women’s issues in the workforce and I will keep my eye out for more research and news in the media.

Women in the Olympics

I chose to focus this blog on women in the Olympics. This history of women becoming involved in the Olympic Games is very interesting and I found a very informative website giving a timeline of important dates leading up to women in the Olympics. Through my research I found that women were not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games until 1900 in Paris. 19 women participated in these games and are marked as the first women Olympic competitors. These women were only given the option to compete in two categories, tennis and golf. The very first American woman Olympic medalist is Margaret Abbot in golf, this was the only year golf was played at the Olympics. Margaret’s award for winning was a bowl of Old Saxon porcelain mounted in chiseled gold. In 1904 archery had been added to the list that women could participate in so Lida Scott Howell took part in the games and won two gold medals taking the title of the first American woman Olympic gold medalist. Carrying on to more firsts for women in the Olympics takes us to 1924 Paris games where Helen Willis won a gold medal for singles and doubles in tennis and was the first woman to do so.
I find all of these women completely extraordinary and remarkable leaders of their time. They are the pioneers of women sport and competition and they were the first women to take leisure sport to the competitive level. It was these women that set the path for all other women athletes to come, particularly Olympic women athletes. I do find it amazing that women continually have to overcome obstacles in every line of work they do whether it is sports or in the office. The one thing that shocked me the most about this post was that women were participating in 1900, considering how long it took to a professional women’s basketball league to be created I would have assumed Olympics were out of the question until much more recently but I was pleased to find these dates. I loved reading about this topic and I learned a lot.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Women's Rights Blog

I decided to focus once again on a blog surrounding women’s rights but this time focusing on the military aspect. This particular blog I found very interesting because it speaks to many different issues women face today. One of the most recent postings discusses the story of PFC. Monica Brown who is 18 years old. Monica is a medic and while serving her country over in Afghanistan she ran through a hail of gunfire to help her fellow soldiers in a disabled and burning vehicle. These wounded soldiers happened to also be male, when she returned from Afghanistan she was praised for her duties. Vice President Dick Cheney pinned Monica with the Silver Star (which is the third highest award in our country for combat) for her bravery. Soon after this happened Monica was told she probably shouldn’t have been there to begin with, yet she gets to keep the Silver Star. Monica is only the second woman to receive this award since WWII. Just a few days after her heroic mission the Army pulled Brown out of her cavalry unit and said because she was a woman she was barred from these missions. I find it very interesting that right after she saves countless male lives, while risking her own several times, she is sent home because she can’t handle these missions due to the fact she is a woman. What happens if there is another incident like before and those men need saving? I wonder if they thought through this or if they were just too concerned with their egos and made a quick decision. They said the reasoning for her being on the last mission in which she saved so many lives was because they had to because they didn’t have any other medics. I find this ridiculous and clearly such rules as these need to be further looked at and changed because clearly women are more than capable of fighting and saving lives.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most influential women in the world. Oprah was a breakthrough for women in the television/broadcasting industry and most importantly for African-American women. Oprah came from a poor background and with her parent’s divorce she found herself moving a couple times growing up. Oprah knows what it is like to be very unfortunate and clearly she knows what it is like to be extremely fortunate but she definitely had to work her way up to where she is today. Oprah had a very difficult time breaking into the broadcasting business, she first started on the radio but even that wasn’t very common for women. Eventually she became a news reporter but even with that she was criticized for being too emotional on the air and crying when she was reporting someone’s house burning down. This is when Oprah found her niche on what is now emerged into one of the most successful and most watched Talk Shows of today, The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah started her show with the typical format of an issue and bringing on guests and having a lot of audience involvement and questions. The Oprah show today is now more of an interview show and she has a lot of celebrities come on to promote their new movie or authors for their new book. Oprah has used her fame to do great things; she gives more than any other celebrity and has invested multiple shows all surrounding the idea of giving. She is extremely generous and looked up to yet she is still able to relate to the common woman/mother because of her roots. She is admirable because she has worked so incredibly hard and defied the odds when it seemed it was nearly impossible. Oprah is looked up to by all women and is a symbol of what many women working today strive to be.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Women in the military

The military is a field that has been predominately men for as long as it has existed. It is one of the more controversial fields of work for women to be a part of for many reasons. The physical strength and endurance alone is a main reason as to why many Americans, both men and some women, believe there is no place for a woman in the military. Just like many areas of work for women there are many obstacles and barriers they have to go through in order to be successful. Unfortunately, sexual harassment and abuse towards women is reported by 15% of female veterans. The fact that there are not that many women in the military the few that are don’t have the odds in their favor to be free from torment or harassment. One out of every seven female veterans reported being sexually abused or assaulted during their time in Afghanistan or Iraq. More than half of these women also suffer from PTSD which is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These numbers are incredibly high considering less than 100 men reported to be sexually assaulted. This is the first study that has screened this many people regarding sexual abuse or harassment after their deployments.
I feel that this is just another obstacle for women to have to deal with and another fear they will have when deciding if they will enlist in the military. Women have done a lot for our country through the armed forces and could do even more without the kind of threats such as sexual abuse and harassment. For a country that stands so harshly against these crimes you would think that the military would agree with our morals and laws as a country and hold strong against such violations. This is a terrible report to hear and something needs to be done about it immediately before it escalates any further.

Women in Politics

This video clip is when John McCain announces his running mate, Sarah Palin. If they would have won she would be the first woman vice president our nation would ever see. Historically, politics has not made much room for women. Senator Hillary Clinton is the closest any woman has ever come to being president of the United States. As we have seen with Obama, politics not only excludes women but the majority of politicians are white males. Very slowly the process has begun that has included more races and more women in the political arena. I found it interesting that during the campaign Sarah Palin was made fun of many times for having womanly characteristics or talking about her motherhood and how that has changed her life. As many have seen on shows such as SNL, Sarah Palin was depicted as a small town hockey mom that had no experience and no business running for vice president. As much as it is quite possible that she doesn't have enough experience I feel that many people assumed this even more so because she is a woman. It is rare to hear that a man has no business running for office or going to Washington. Women are viewed as incapable of holding power and being leaders, mostly in a world where men typically take power.
I think it is going to happen soon that we actually have a woman run and win the office of either vice president or president. Our country is going through a big change when it comes to gender roles, and politics is one field yet to be completely changed. I think it is even possible to have a woman run for president in the next election but whether or not she wins is something only time will tell!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

ACLU Blog- Women's Rights

I found a blog on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website about women's rights. The main idea of this website is all about freedom and different rights in America, the site is divided up into sections regarding different topics such as women's rights. There are blogging sites for all topics but I have focused on the women's rights area and the blog that I read had to do with domestic violence. The woman and author of the blog, Jessica Lenahan, is a survivor of domestic violence and has quite the story to tell. She is from Castle Rock, Colorado and was once happily married to her husband and had three daughters. She and her husband got a divorce and due to domestic violence she had a restraining order put against him, in objection to the restraining order he abducted the three daughters. Jessica went to the police repeatedly and they proved to be of no help at all. Later that night her ex-husband showed up at the police station and opened fire, he was killed and the bodies of her three daughters were found murdered in the back of his truck. Jessica then sued the town for not enforcing the restraining order and not assisting her with her case. Jessica went through many different legal cases and hearings with no outcome, when she thought all was lost she heard of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and filed a petition with them. Through this commission she was able to speak her piece in a legal hearing and is hopefully going to see results.
This story, although very sad, speaks to how many domestic violence cases are handled and looked at in the United States. This is one of the biggest fears for women today and because there are more exciting news headlines it is not getting the attention needed to make a difference. I hope that Jessica is able to make a difference with her case and that this allows the American government to see that they dropped the ball and should have done more to help. Domestic violence should be so preventable and with the right programs and resources for women we can make it that way.